23 April 2006

Order of Magnitude: New Orleans trash

An interesting but sad order of magnitude calculation can be done for how much trash there was to clean up from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I actually gave my students a photocopy of the linked article in the Fall after we did our first order of magnitude calculation. Count up all the household goods - because electronics don't work and everything else is moldy - all the appliances, all the cars, everything, and you get 22 million tons of waste from New Orleans. They're still cleaning it up. And the environmental impact of all the gasoline going into the water? Who knows how long that'll take to clean up, if they do.

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